The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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the butt of all ridicule.  This was the session of the legislature in which the famous York exposure occurred that defeated Senator Pomeroy and elected John James Ingalls to the United States Senate.  The principal argument used with members by Pomeroy and his opponents at that time was boodle; and it was positively known that Billings' fingers stuck to some of that money.  Captain J. G. Waters of Topeka wrote an article entitled ' Fifty Days of History,' which as published in the Kansas Magazine of July 1873 from which we quote the following: "The tedium of a morning session was frequently enlivened by the sporadic eloquence of Honorable Mr. Billings of the county of Norton, and of whom it would not be inapt (sic) to remark, that regardless of any standard usage may have established, his bursts of almost divine afflatus were sensibly hightened (sic) by the stunted appearance of the orator; his scrubby whiskers which ran at random all over his face; the peculiar brilliancy of his eyes, long afflicted with no mild form of jaundice; a low, receding forehead, and a voice after which the buzz of a saw-mill were a lullaby.  He had gone to Norton county desirous of being elected to the legislature and help elect a Senator and so highly was he appreciated by the people of that county that they turned out in their strength and unanimously elected him by a total vote of nearly twenty-one.  On clear days, his resounding tones, reverberating through the fastnesses of the hall of the House, could be as much depended on as the certainty of hearing the tin whistle of the ten cent omnibus line.

A day or two after the Senatorial election, the ear failing to hear the enchanting strains of the Honorable Mr. Billings, enquiry failed to discover his whereabouts, and it was supposed that in the sudden accession of wealth he had incontinently departed, rigged out in the best suit of clothes it was ever his good fortune to possess.  No more did he respond to the call of the clerk.  His absence became the subject of standing merriment in the House, and to more precisely illustrate the business capacity, extreme good sense and thorough fitness of the members, one day when the fight on York grew monotonous, in playful facetiousness the county of Norton, named after a dead Kansas soldier who had gone down to his death during his duty as a citizen in defense of that which should be too sacred for jest, was changed to the name of Billings, and is now the law."

Early in January 1878 Henry Oliver sent a petition to Hon. Noah Weaver who represented Phillips county at that time, praying for the disorganization of Norton county.  This petition was referred to the committee on "Frontier," of which Calvin Reasoner of Osborne county was chairman.  The committee made the following report: "Mr. Speaker: Your committee on Frontier to whom was referred papers from Norton county, report as follows:
1. Those papers are without acknowledgment or any other legal authentication; still they may be on the face the appearance of truthfulness.
2, Those papers purport to give a corrected census report of the population of Norton county, making the population to be less than one hundred and fifty.  It seems probable that the census includes only those actually present at the time of taking the same and moreover it might be enlarged to about two hundred including temporary absentees.
3. These papers present also a petition for the disorganization of Norton county on the ground that the same had been organized fraudulently and that the expense incident to the management of such an organization would be more than the people could bear.
4. Your committee report that they 

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